The Edo State government has urged the government of Switzerland to assist it with the establishment of a forensic crime laboratory necessary to curb crimes in the state and the country in general, rather than critisise it for passing a law on death penalty.
The state government made the appeal to the Swiss authorities in an exclusive reaction to a story Mirror Media Ltd published from Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday, October 24, 2013, as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group’s 17th session review of Nigeria. In the report, Switzerland had faulted Governor Adams Oshiomhole for signing into law the amended anti-kidnapping bill which now prescribes death penalty for convicted kidnappers.
The governor had before then also signed the death warrants of four convicted criminals, who were immediately executed thereafter to bring back execution of criminals, last carried out in the state about 17 years ago. Speaking exclusively to Saturday Mirror in Benin City, Edo State Attorney- General and Commission-er of Justice, Mr. Henry William Idahagbon, said death penalty was necessary for now to deal with the peculiar challenges of kidnapping in the state.
He also used the opportunity to deny that Governor Oshiomhole was forced to sign the bill because some kidnappers chopped-off the finger of a kidnapped High Court Judge.
According to Idahagbon “About the displeasure of the Swiss Government about the signing into law of the death penalty for kidnappers, I say without any fear of contradiction that we have no apology to make to the Swiss Government. Nigeria is a sovereign country and Edo State is part of the sovereign state of Nigeria. We have peculiar problems here that the Swiss people do not know and do not have.
We are trying to respond to curtail a crime that is growing out of normal proportion and dimension,” he said. He added, “The four largest nations in the world today have capital punishment in their statute books. In terms of population, China and India have the largest population in the world. Both countries have capital punishment in their statute books.
America is the most powerful nation on earth. Out of the 50 states, about 32 of them, including Texas that is famous for execution, have capital punishment on their statute books.
Of course, the fourth largest populated country in the world, Indonesia, also has it. Instead of criticising us, Switzerland should come and help us to solve our crime problems,” Idahagbon said.